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Contra Costa County Election Wrap

Contra Costa County Election Wrap
San Pablo voters in Tuesday's election have approved a measure to raise the city's sales tax by a quarter of a cent to fund an emergency medical squad meant to pay for more emergency medical responders if the city's only fire station closes. 
 
Measure K received just more than 69 percent voter approval, exceeding the two-thirds vote required to pass, according to unofficial election results. 
 
San Pablo city officials said income from the tax will fund a "hybrid emergency medical squad" meant to slash operational costs for Fire Station 70, located at 13928 San Pablo Ave., and boost its odds of staying open despite the fire district's ongoing budget woes. 
 
The tax is expected to generate about $600,000 annually, which city officials said will be even more critical considering the likely closure of Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo, West Contra Costa County's only public hospital, in addition to a possible fire station closure. Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, whose district includes San Pablo, said he was pleased to hear Measure K had passed. "Ultimately, whether Doctors hospital closes or not, this will help maintain emergency medical services in San Pablo," Gioia said. 
 
Opponents of the measure have lamented that the tax doesn't expire and would raise the city's sales tax for the second time in three years, from 9 to 9.25 percent. In the same part of the county, voters rejected Measure H, which would have authorized the district to raise $270 million in bond money for improvements at schools within the West Contra Costa Unified School District. The measure fell 10 percentage points short of the 55 percent needed to pass, unofficial election results show. 
 
Measure H proponents have said the bond funding would cover upgrades to school safety and would boost students' college preparedness with a long list of improvements ranging from repairing leaky roofs and new, permanent buildings to replace aging portables. Meanwhile, opponents noted that the measure was the seventh time the district asked voters to approve bonds in the past 17 years and might raise the area's already high property taxes. Voters countywide approved a different school bond measure, Measure E, with just more than 56 percent of the vote, narrowly surpassing the 55 percent needed for passage. 
 
The measure allows the Contra Costa Community College District to raise $450 million in bonds for upgrades to educational facilities at Diablo Valley, Contra Costa and Los Medanos Community colleges and the college district's Brentwood and San Ramon centers. 
 
In Orinda, voters overwhelmingly approved Measure J, which allows the city to raise $20 million in bonds to help cover repairs and upgrades to roadways and storm drains. 
 
Voters in Kensington rejected a measure to authorize the Kensington Police Protection and Community Service District to raise $2 million in bonds to modernize and repair the aging Community Center. Proponents said Measure L would have cost the average Kensington homeowner less than $5 a month. 
 
Measure G, a measure that reauthorizes an existing $11.50 monthly parcel tax within the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District, was approved by 16 out of 26 Contra Costa County residents who cast a vote on the measure. According to unofficial election results early this morning, the measure passed with more than 71 percent approval in Alameda County, where the bulk of the school district's residents live. 

Related election coverage: 
—By Bay City News

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